Player rankings: Fulham v Manchester United

Here’s how I scored the lads during yesterday’s demolition…

Schwarzer – 5/10
Probably a bit unfair as he wasn’t afforded much protection, but yesterday was an occasion when we badly needed some of his Emirates-esque brilliance.

Konchesky – 4/10
Very weak. Just what was he thinking in the lead-up to United’s opener? Keeping your back turned against an unmarked Tevez is footballing suicide.

Hughes – 5/10
An okay performance, nothing more. There are limits to what your centre backs can achieve when the midfield doesn’t do anything to stop attackers marauding forward.

Hangeland – 6/10
A few stray passes indicated the pressure exerted by United was testing our Norwegian giant to his limits. Not a day he will look back on with relish.

Pantsil – 7/10
Put in a very good shift. Looked – as Rich over at CravenCottageNewsround pointed out – like he truly cared. Was too exhausted to do his customary lap of honour – either that or didn’t feel it was appropriate.

Davies – 6/10
Plenty of effort but a number of passes went astray and lashed one of our only half chances way over the bar in the first half.

Dempsey – 7/10
A fully committed, energetic, strong performance from our Clint. The wrestling match with Rooney in the second half a prime example of his work rate.

Etuhu – 4/10
After looking so commanding against Arsenal last weekend, he simply looked overawed yesterday. Standing off players – particularly Tevez for his second – and just not strong enough in the tackle. A poor performance.

Murphy – 5/10
The effort was there but he allowed the midfield to be completely over-run.

Johnson – 5/10
Didn’t get much of a sniff to be honest. His alert toe poke caught out Van der Sar in the opening exchanges but Vidic managed to hook it off the line.

Zamora – 5/10
Didn’t make – or wasn’t allowed to make – much of a contribution. Spent the vast majority of his time complaining to the ref that he had been fouled, or that he was the innocent victim in every challenge.

Substitutes
Dacourt – 3/10
Oh dear. Let’s hope he’s just not match fit.

Kamara – 5/10
Ran around a lot, pointed a lot, but little else of note.

Gera – 3/10
Gifted United their fourth. Sadly, this was his only contribution.

Man of the match: Clint Dempsey. For sheet effort and determination.

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Manchester United teach Fulham a lesson

What can you say about that? According to the Collins English Dictionary, the word ‘contest’ means: a formal match in which two or more people/teams compete and attempt to win. Yesterday’s match didn’t even come close to that definition.

It was more of a footballing masterclass by an unbelievably powerful Manchester United side, that played the entire second half without Rio Ferdinand and didn’t even think it was necessary to bring Berbatov or Ronaldo to London.

They were right. This was about as one-sided as a game could be. Aside from some early forays into the opposing half in the opening 20 minutes – which could have seen Andy Johnson on the score sheet had Vidic not cleared his toe poke off the line – Fulham spent the entire game beating off a marauding red army.

a-rare-sight-us-in-their-half1Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney, ably assisted by the energetic Anderson, simply tore us apart in midfield and consistently tormented our back four. It was surely only a matter of time before our defences were breached…and this came after 20 minutes.

An unmarked Tevez stole in on the back post behind Paul Konchesky and nodded in from close range. A short while later he was allowed to meander through the midfield without being challenged – Dickson Etuhu opting to just watch andĀ marvel at himĀ – and unleash a thunderbolt that gave Mark Schwarzer no chance.

United were now totally in control. Rooney had the ball in the net but it was (thankfully) discounted due to a very dubious offside decision, and then came painfully close to scoring when he hit the post from a few yards out.

The second half started as the first had ended with us totally on the back foot. We huffed and puffed in midfield – Murphy and Dempsey were particularly active – but we simply gave the ball away too many times.

Rooney finally got on the scoresheet with a curving shot from outside the area before Zoltan Gera, who had replaced Bobby Zamora, hit a sloppy cross field ball in his own half which was intercepted by Park who ran through for number four.

It was painful to watch. We didn’t play that badly, but the gulf in class was incredible. It will take something special to stop this side from picking up every trophy going. They are, quite simply, awesome.

It's all over